Top critical review
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Useful 10x zoom but the images are not as good as expected
on 28 August 2014
After testing the IXUS 150 I was keen to try out this model as it's the "next one up" in the IXUS range of compact which have been mostly pretty good or at least the ones I had tried out to date.
The IXUS 155 is very similar to the 150 model with the main differences being the larger 10x zoom range (35 mm equivalent: 24 - 240 mm) and the change from a 16mp CCD sensor to a 20mp one. The first move being a good one as the wider 24mm field of view is genuinely useful esp for landscape or group shots, however I'm not quite as keen on the image quality.
A quick summary of the stronger and weaker points of the model
+ Handy zoom range 24-240mm is good both at the wide end and a decent telephoto reach
+ Build is quite good with a metal body
+ Fairly simple and easy to use but with some intelligent modes which work quite well and longer night shooting is possible with a max of 15 seconds exposure
+ White balance and autofocus are quite consistent with few issues noted
+ Video mode is fine with 720p rather than full HD but acceptable at this price point (AF works fairly well in video too and you can zoom)
+ Good "1cm" macro mode at the wide angle end allows some reasonable macro capabilities
+ Has an external battery charger (becoming increasingly less common on many lower priced compacts)
Not so good:
- Image quality, lots of processing on the images and honestly I prefer the IXUS 150's sensor which delivers better results to my eyes. Images are over-processed even at lower ISO levels with lots of noise reduction and sharpening artefacts above ISO 400 things take a very significant dive, you'll get perfectly fine A4 prints at lower ISO, once you get to ISO 800 only very small prints will look reasonable and even ISO 200/400 isn't as good as expected for a modern camera
- Dynamic range is more limited than other compacts I've tested esp prone to clipping highlights you can dial the exposure back a bit which helps, head to head the 20mp CCD isn't as good as the 16mp CCD in the lower model
- Lens is rather slow at the telephoto end a mere f6.9 which means your ISO levels will be pushed up in less than bright conditions you can use the image stabilisation to help a bit
- Rather slow 0.8fps continuous shooting mode for full resolution images
Box contents are basic with a simple user guide (not the full one) hand strap, external wall charger/with battery.
Rear LCD is 2.7" and 230k dots which is about average for a camera like this but perfectly fine in most conditions though like many compacts very harsh lighting can make it harder to see.
Battery life is about 200-210 shots a little more at times about average there are a few "eco" modes to stretch the power out a tad longer, you'll get a bit more if you're not taking flash photos or not as many
You get your usual smattering of scene modes, intelligent auto and "smart flash exposures" which are quite good though red eye can be an issue (there is a red eye flash mode and software removal it doesn't always catch some red-eye)
So far everything is very much like the IXUS 150 but the problem is the rather "brave" claims by Canon that you'll get A3 prints off the camera (you can print at any size with any camera but if it's good or not is the question) you can get good A4 prints and somewhat larger, but A3 clearly shows problems with image processing and smeared details at such large print sizes. Reality is (at least for small sensor compacts like this) they really are fine for "most people's print" needs (if you ever print that is) but honestly you'll have to look at bigger sensors (compacts or other cameras) to really get a decent jump up to making very good bigger prints. I got good A4 prints off 4 megapixel cameras many of the newer cameras have larger, softer more heavily processed images that really are not any better than models years ago (some areas have improved though features, video modes and performance)
It's not that the IXUS 155 is a bad camera it's not just don't expect too much from it and ignore the megapixel number. It's fairly easy to use and responsive enough, but I can't help but feel the IXUS 150 is a better camera (and a bit cheaper) or try the PowerShot SX600 HS which is more expensive but a better camera overall (bigger zoom range)
Not bad, but the move to 20mp on this model wasn't a great one.